Talking Shit

Recap of Idol Elimination: Farewell, Paul!

Whaddayaknow. Maybe the American people know what they're doing.

On last night's Idol elimination episode, Haley Reinhart, Stefano Langone, and Paul McDonald found themselves in the bottom three. I wrote yesterday that Paul deserved to go, because he's never used his little wisp of a voice with sufficient intelligence or verve to compensate for its obvious physical shortcomings. I predicted he'd stick around anyway, because for whatever reason the voters (and very often the judges) have a real hate on for the brilliant Haley Reinhart, and don't seem to mind that Paul McDonald's greatest talent seems to be replicating the sensation of Marianne Faithful grinding particulate glass against my eardrum with a cigarette stub.

The perennially put-upon Stefano was sent back to the couches, and

there were Paul and Haley. I can't imagine that anybody in the world

thought Paul more likely to get sacked than Haley, but that's how it

went. He departed classily, rasping his way through "Maggie May," a song that suits him nicely, and delivering a little wink and a big grin on the song's last line. Then he was gone.

In between Ryan Seacrest's callings of results, Idol dragged out Kelly Clarkson for a duet with the necrotic Jason Aldean. Rihanna attempted to sing her new single, "California King Bed,"

and almost did. Contestants, in pairs or in quartets, performed random

ditties before learning their bottom-three status. Of these, the four

men who sang

Simon and Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence" and "Mrs. Robinson" were

saddled with an unfortunate arrangement and an even worse mix, and

Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina spent most of "American Honey"

disagreeing about the key in which the song was written. Haley Reinhart

and Casey Abrams banged out Art Blakey's "Moaning," and they were

fabulous -- see the video above. Ryan Seacrest briefly stopped the show

to get reaction from the judges.

Next week, the top seven tackle

"Songs From the 21st Century." That'll be tough going, especially for

Jacob Lusk. What in the last decade is a good fit for his outsized vocal


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Brandon K. Thorp